Wouldn’t it be nice to reinvent yourself every year? Just toss out all your old clothes, get a new job, take a new direction in life? It’s fun to think about, but really difficult to put into practice; there’s a lot of security in knowing who you are and working a job (you hopefully love) for year after year. We crave consistency but yearn for change. It’s why fiction is so important as an escape, from what comforts us. Heroes can risk it all in these huge, life-changing decisions, and we can watch from the bleachers, cheering them on or judging them harshly.
Let’s get to doing that with the latest all-new, all-different titles at Marvel, arriving in October.
Oh, man. The toughest part of these announcements is the sheer weight of information we get at once. Marvel could reveal these one at a time, but I think that would take away some of the spotlight, as one new title would be forgotten as the next new was announced. Instead, we get this 45-title avalanche showcasing a variety of new books and looks for our favorite heroes and villains, leaving people like Yours Truly to sort it all into manageable chunks. How do we parse all of this?
Well, taking it by major interest, we’re looking at six Spider-books, five X-books and five Avengers books. Most of the Spider-titles are solo series, each with a different Spider-Person; Amazing Spider-Man has Peter Parker going on some global adventure, while Spider-Man has Miles Morales taking up the usual New York City domain. Silk and Spider-Gwen are kind of connected, in as much as they have ties to the Spider-Man mythos, but are generally separate stories, while Spider-Man 2099 is … well, what it is. I honestly didn’t expect it to last into the new All-New season. The book that will connect the Spider-Man universe together is Web Warriors, picking up where the Spider-Verse left off as a variety of Spider-People come together in what I’m hoping is a regular rotation of Spider-themed heroes. All in all, not a bad lineup for those coming in new to Spider-Man, as there’s a little something for everyone, whether they’re entrenched in the lore and fresh into comics.
The X-books don’t have any solo titles just yet (as we assume this isn’t the definitive list, with Comic-Con International mere days away, and more announcements are bound to follow), aside from Wolverine. There will be an Old Man Logan title, giving us a man out of his war-torn dimension, à la Cable, and All-New Wolverine with X-23 more than likely behind the mask. Other than those two, we once again find ourselves with flavors of X-books: your teen-mutants title with All-New X-Men having the time-displaced X-Men and X-23 on a road trip, your classic characters title with Extraordinary X-Men boasting Nightcrawler, Magik, Iceman and more, led by Storm, and Uncanny X-Men being an X-Force-esque title as Magneto has gathered some dangerous mutants like Sabretooth and Fantomex. I doubt there’s going to be much crossover (at first, at least), so this is really just a matter of picking what you like about the X-Men and reading that title.
The Avengers are now their own flavor of comic as well, so we get more than simply an East Coast/West Coast vibe from the new titles. There’s All-New All-Different Avengers (a horrible title I hope they shorten) for newer readers consisting of relatable teens and perennial favorites, looking to have a more all-audiences vibe. New Avengers looks a little more “X-treme,” with edgier characters like Songbird and Hawkeye picking up that “Sunspot bought A.I.M.” story thread and running with it; this book looks to be a little more in the thick of the Marvel Universe than ANADA (See? That title has to go).
Ultimates seems to be more space-oriented, as there are some real heavy-hitters like Captain Marvel and Blue Adam, plus that’s Galactus in the background so … make of this what you will. Rounding this out is Uncanny Avengers, a team that just seems to be made of characters other series forgot about, including aged Steve Rogers, Spider-Man (Peter Parker-flavored), Quicksilver in a truly horrendous costume and Deadpool. Why? Well, we’ll find out in October. These guys might have a little more crossover appeal as the teams seems more available to one another, but I don’t think all of the Avengers titles will have to be read for a complete story as much as that was necessary for Hickman’s run.
With the main blocks of the Marvel Universe set, there’s still plenty of room for eight different female-led solo titles (plus one team!), more cerebral titles like Karnak and Vision, which look to be more meditative than, say, Drax and Howling Commandos of S.H.I.E.L.D., which are more geared for action. While kids have a better access to comics through titles like Contest of Champions (something that seems perfect for customers looking for something for the younger set to read on a long car ride — man, I wish we had this now!), bigger kids still have Howard the Duck.
It must be so cool to reinvent yourself every year and clear out everything you didn’t like about yourself. To some friends, this might start to get annoying, as they have to relearn a new you. Maybe they liked your old haircut or worked with you at your old job only to have you bail and start a new one. Maybe it makes you seem fickle and flighty, difficult to know and stay in touch with. But as much as we may change, we still remain the same people. New costumes and line-ups can come and go but our heroes will always be there.
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